arvan's picture


I took my 8 y/o daughter recently to visit the grave of my grandmother and grandfather.  They're buried in a little cemetery in Batavia, IL called Resurrection.  My daughter said it was too bad that we didn't bring flowers and I agreed.  I'm not much of a cemetery visitor myself, but there is something about flowers.

We agreed to bring flowers next time.

It took us about 20 minutes to find the headstones, which was comedic in itself.  I was sort of embarrassed that I didn't know where the markers were.  I mean, I really did spend a lot of time with "Gramma" when she was alive.  I haven't visited her grave since the day she was buried, 9 years ago.

As I lined up an 8 y/0 child with me into a search party for two rocks in the ground with names Donald andJane, I thought that it's probably a lucky break for me that I am an atheist.  I figured that if I believed that I'd be facing the spirits of the dead in an afterlife, they would chew my ass out for never visiting their tombs or at least bringing flowers when I did finally swing by.  Not to mention spending my remaining living years stewing over the guilt for my misdeeds.

As it was, I just passed the time watching my daughter pick up shiny things as an offering for the graves of her ancestors.  I wondered if I was a poor example of how to respect ones ancestors, but that was just my old Catholic guilt training flaring up like some scar from a childhood trauma.  In reality, the way to respect my ancestors is to live a life of dignity and honesty; to live a life worth living.  That's what they did and that's the only thing Gramma would want me to do, if she were here.  It's all she ever wanted for me.

arvan's picture

My Anger, by Duduzile Dlamini

(h/t SWEAT)

A story supported by the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT) and facilitated by Women'sNet in South Africa.  I found this to be moving, simple and very much at the core of what it means to be human.


Flutterfury's picture

Transphobic Comments on the Airwaves

I'm starting up a boycott of the sponsor's of WKSE-FM's morning Janet and Nick show for comments made yesterday on the air about Scott Moore "The 2nd Pregnany Man"


ksuzanne's picture

"Femme" Ain't Always Easy

"It's so much easier for feminine lesbians than butch lesbians” so the story goes. I know what lesbian folks usually mean when they say this.

arvan's picture

Call for Writers: AQSAzine Issue #3: My Islam

Dear friends, lovers, sisters, allies, revolutionaries

Submit and spread the word about the AQSAzine Issue #3 MY ISLAM "because Allah gave you the right to figure it out"


Because you’ve asked the question “what is my Islam and what does it mean to me?” Because you constantly explore it, navigate it, confront it, take it apart, or reject it. Because you’ve been excluded from it. Because you hold it close, embrace it, own it. Because you’ve been attacked for believing in it. Because you are tired of defending and defining it.
Because you feel Islam has been used misused and abused, helping some gain illegitimate power and others rationalize oppression. Because you feel that despite this, it is a quest for humanity and peace of mind, body, soul that is at its core.
Jack Molay's picture

On transsexuals and transvestites and Ray Blanchard's urge to classify everything as a perversion

The DSM manual is up for revision, and the psychiatric urge to label so-called "paraphilias" is very strong.

victorias sketchbook's picture

Teenager-mom Heart-to-Heart about Pornography

from Victoria's Sex Blog

Until you’ve actually had a baby, you cannot have a CLUE what you’re in for… and it’s the same with sex. I remember my shock (and absolute THRILL!) the first time a male hand slid behind the zipper of my jeans to touch my pelvis, and lower… and although I’d been doing some heavy duty making out until then, I had absolutely no idea how fabulous another person’s touch could feel on my private parts. I guess I am one of the fortunate young girls who truly was a virgin before that happened; from the stories I have heard from girlfriends, it’s not quite the same when you have already been touched way before you were ready or willing.

After reading about the negative effects of too-accessible pornography on children and youth, I sat down with my two teenage boys and told them we were going to have a talk about just that. They were pretty cool about it… they knew I knew they looked at porn (although I don’t know how much) and they know I know something about it because they know that I’ve drawn it, although I can’t be sure about how much of my work they have actually seen either. My attitude up until now has been to keep this work discreet, but not completely hidden; they know I draw and photograph the nude body and they know I do something about sexuality, but what exactly…?

victorias sketchbook's picture

If love is timeless, loving sexual contact can be too!

from Victoria's Sex Blog

As I get older, it’s becoming clearer to me that we really know nothing about anything until we’ve actually experienced it.  And we’re never really prepared for it until we get there. I just read a most disturbing report about the impact of Internet pornography on youth and children by two Montreal reporters, Isabelle Maher and Martin Bisaillon - if you read French, please look it up. They are sounding an alarm that needs to be sounded loud and clear to make us (adults-parents-society) wake up to the devastating impact that overly accessible porn-as-sex-education is having on our children. So today I want to focus, as usual, on love expressed sexually, by honouring some people who have long been making an effort to make a difference.

Bill and Desiree, whom I had the pleasure of illustrating together from a photo-still (above) are people who care enough about sharing positive images of sexuality to share their own private moments of passion with others. Both have written for sex-positive publications, and Bill writes lovely erotic poetry that I have already included and will continue to publish on this blog. Last year they shared their story through interviews and scenes of lovemaking with Comstock films, a couple-run company that makes DVDs of real people having real sex, and I was fortunate enough to be able to see their particular DVD and use stills from it to create drawings. Thank you  Joan Price for putting us in contact, to Tony and Peggy at Comstock for allowing this precious collaboration, and to Bill and Desiree for continuing to spread their love!

lovemagician's picture

Something For Every Body: Happy "Thanks-giving"

By Millie Jackson

Gratitude is a great remedy for discontentment.  Being grateful produces positive results because it sets into motion an uplifting appreciation for life.  Thankfully, living with an attitude of gratitude is an option we all have regardless of our circumstances.

Happiness and contentment can be found in the moment when we are not constantly looking for new things to come along and “make” us happy (job, car, relationships, clothes, toys, etc.).  What we don’t have can appear far more desirable, while what we do have can seem worth less--the proverbial “The grass is always greener on the other side”.  By experiencing gratitude for what we have, we can avoid the pitfall of “not knowing what we had until it’s gone”.

Health and wellness are great examples of aspects of ourselves that often are taken for granted until a crisis is experienced.  It is this disregard for our bodies that can result in lack of appropriate care that precipitates some crises.

arvan's picture

Ins Kromminga: Gender Binary is Absurd

By Ponni Arasu (

First Published : 07 Nov 2009 [express buzz]

Ins Kromminga has been in Delhi for the past few days.  He/she was the guest artist at the Nigah Queer fest ‘09.  The fest, which has partially collaborated with the Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi for the past two years has had one artist from Germany every year.  Ins Kromminga is an artist and activist who works on a range of issues concerning intersex persons.  He/she is the German spokesperson for the Organisation of Intersex International.

I whisked him/her away for a while during the Nigah picnic, at Nehru park in Delhi, the closing event of the fest this year.  Below are Kromminga’s opinions on intersex persons’ issues and the role of art in the same.

What is “intersex”?

I will try and explain this complex aspect in as simple a form as possible.  It is a biological reality where a person’s body integrates parts that are usually considered to be “female” and “male”.  This can be at multiple levels.  It can be in the genetalia, chromosomes, and the genetic system on the whole and so on.  There are many variations in this continuum.  Medical signs has identified eight categories to determine any human being’s sex and all persons have to fit within these to make a clear cut call on a person’s gender.  And thus, presumably, most people will not fit perfectly within these minimalistic paradigms. 

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